One Fact And One Idea



HarperThe CEO said to me last week: “If people are so unhappy, why don’t they leave?”

I shrugged. Because I don’t know why people stay in jobs that are wrong for them. In work environments that are toxic. In places they don’t grow.

(For that matter, I don’t know why people stay in neighborhoods they hate married to people they loathe driving a car that makes them crazy, either.)

I am here to tell you - in general, people tolerate way too much.

And it’s weird.

Maybe we tolerate way too much every single damn day because down deep we think we’re not powerful enough to change things.

Or we’re not sure we’re really so unhappy. We worry that maybe we’re misinterpreting things. Or maybe we’re the whining and complaining crybabies our big brothers always said we were.

And then there’s “this economy”, which always seems to be spoken of in an anchorman’s voice, like some gigantic warning of looming danger.

But maybe it’s really because we’re terrified of change. What if we do go through all the trouble to do something different and… it’s worse!

These are the big fears people share with me.

I’d like to give you one fact and one idea to consider if there’s something you’re putting up with day after grueling day, and can’t seem to find the heart to do anything about.

Fact: The economy has changed. Where in 2009, US unemployment stood at a staggering ten percent, it’s even more amazing that right now in my home state it’s at 4.5%.

That means now is the best time in years to find a new job.

(It also means that now is the best time in years to ask for a raise because brass will have to pay more to retain the best talent.)

(If they haven’t gotten this message yet, they will as soon as they can’t fill a key position.)

(Just sayin’.)

Now for that idea I was telling you about.

Idea: Professional baseball players suit up for a game in the uniform of the team they play for. Whether they’re a National or a Diamondback or a Mariner, they wear the colors and play for the team – knowing full well that even in the middle of the game they can get a call saying they’ve been traded to another team.

And the next day, even though it might be hard, they suit up in an entirely new uniform and play for the new team.

For these professionals, it’s less about the team and more about the position they play. They know they can – and will – be a great first baseman for any team.

This is what you need to understand. 

Rather than consider your employment as a lifetime commitment you cannot break, think about it as a baseball team. As long as you play for them, you’re going to hustle and do a good job. But you can – and will – do an equally good job for any other team.

Because you are a very good first baseman.

When you need a change, make a change.

There is no need to tolerate a sick workplace. There is no need to fear something new.

There is only opportunity in the economy right now.

It’s time to get in the game.


The Journey Of A Lifetime


the close-up human eye imageOnce, I traveled to a mountain top to seek out wisdom.

It was a long, arduous journey full of peril. Finally, at the summit, I met the person who could help me understand. I sat and waited.

The wise woman said, “Sometimes you must be utterly quiet to really be able to hear.

“It takes stillness to make any progress.

“You must find introspection to be able to live in the world.

“And when you take the time to get quiet, still and introspective, it’s possible to find understanding.”

I waited. There must be more. Had to be more!

“Is it possible,” I started, “to live a life that matters in a world that is fast and noisy? Where there is no time to think? It doesn’t seem possible.”

The wise woman smiled with kindness, nodded her head and said, “Oh, yes, it is possible. And I will reveal to you exactly how to do it. These are the principles which support a long, happy meaningful life. Pay attention – some are harder to achieve than you might think.”

And these are the words she said to me that day:

Live gratitude.

Be kind.

Love yourself.

Accept that how others live is their choice, and they are entitled to their own choices.

Honor your self-ness and the self-ness of others.


Ask questions with no agenda.

Your most awesome power is your power to create.

Set goals and be prepared to let go of them if the situation changes.

Be the friend you’d want to have.

Do not pass suffering along.

Day turned to night and night to day as I pondered these revelations. Could it be that these principles were all I needed to live a life that matters?

Finally, it all made sense to me. I took a deep breath and pledged to move forward living as she suggested and I rose to thank the woman for her help, her guidance and her wisdom.

And the reflection in my mirror smiled and nodded her gratitude back to me.



The Fierce Velocity of Living


Dust on the notesLife comes at us with a certain fierce velocity these days.

Due dates, deadlines, status updates, pressure – the pace is frenetic and the intensity is off the charts.

And that’s for parents of pre-schoolers.

Your life is pretty daggone intense and fast, too.

Even your favorite executive coach feels the pressures of workload, but fortunately I have plenty of tactics and skills to bring to bear when the speed gets to be a little too…overwhelming.

First thing I do?

Take a break.

I know, I know – “bear down, get through it, push, shoulder to the wheel” – but, really, no. Taking a small stop when things are hectic is a sure way to prevent errors.

Like, let’s say you’re using a crane to lift a piano out of a third floor apartment, so you pause right at the window to make sure you’re at the precisely correct angle. Just a pause before you go forward. Before you scrape the entire left side or, heaven forbid, totally shatter the instrument.

You take a minute and you check.

So that’s why I haven’t written in the last couple of weeks. I’ve been taking a wee pause to make sure:

- I want to keep writing

- I know what it is I want to say

- I understand how it is I want to write

And, it occurs to me that I could use your perspective.

You see, since 2005, when I started a monthly newsletter (and a special shout out to the 52 of you who read that first issue – I have a list, I know who you are, and I really appreciate your continued steadfastness), I have written with an eye toward what you, the reader, would like to hear. To find a topic, I’ve often thought, “Two of my readers are having coffee today… What are they talking about?”

I think of you.

What you need, and what you want, matters to me. So I’d appreciate it if you would take 90 seconds to answer five simple questions for me:

That way, I can put your feedback into the mix of what I’ve been thinking and come out with even more clarity around what I do.

And it will make our time together than much more rewarding, and fun.

Thank you.

Time To Play Hooky



relax footI know how stressed you are. I really do.

I know how completely you throw yourself into everything you do and how chaotic things can get.

Let’s face it, friend. You’re exhausted.

Putting one heavy foot in front of the other,  day after frazzled day in a frenzied, numbing march toward something you’re not even sure about any more – that’s you.

So. There’s really only one thing I can recommend.

It’s a little thing and, at the same time, it’s a really big thing.

Take a day off.


One day off. You don’t do it enough, do you?

(Do you do it ever?)

Yes, what I’m talking about is playing hooky.

As odd as it may seem to all of us Type-A, hard chargers, when you play hooky, you don’t do any work.

Don’t do laundry.

Don’t shop for groceries.

Don’t drive anyone anywhere.

Don’t do anything that needs to be done.

Instead, you take a whole day. Off.

(The very idea of it feels so free and “can I really get away it it?”-ish, doesn’t it?)

OK, maybe it’s been so long since you’ve played hooky that you can’t remember what to do with a whole day to yourself. So let me give you some suggestions:

Turn off your phone and leave your computer un-booted.

Take a walk and don’t pay any attention to how many steps you’re getting in.

Read a book cover-to-cover.

Wade barefoot in a creek.

Hit golf balls at the driving range – not to work on your game, but just to watch the way the balls arc through the air.

Give a dog’s belly a thorough rub.

Take a nap.

Take two naps, even.

Eat a ripe peach over the sink and let the juice dribble down your chin.

Call a friend you haven’t talked with in a while and catch up.



Take deep breaths.

And, really and truly relax.

I promise you that everything on your to-do list will be there tomorrow. The world won’t end if you take a day for yourself.

I’ll bet you, in fact, that you come back to your to-do list with a renewed sense of energy and purpose, simply because you’re not so flipping exhausted.

One day. Just one.

Twenty-four hours for you to do… nothing.

If that doesn’t sound like bliss, I don’t know what does.

So, what do you say? How about tomorrow?



Reconnecting With Your Big Why



Sometimes things get a little too loud.IMG_1766

A little too fast.

A little too not-enough-time-to-think.

When you have a string of days (or months, or even years) like this, you end up burned out and disconnected from who you are and what you aim to accomplish.

These relentless times require – no, demand – a pause.

That’s what I’ve been doing for the last several weeks. I’ve been pausing. Screening out all the noise and focusing on some key, foundational things, like:

Who I am.

Why I do the work I do.

Whether I’m aligned with my values.

How I work and who my ideal clients are.

What I really and truly want.

Believe me, I’ve written thousands of words and thought a million more.

I’ve talked with friends about these words over meals, over the phone and over the internet.

I’ve walked miles, thinking.

And moment by moment, day by day, I’ve grown clearer. Happier. More focused.

By shutting out the noise and getting quiet, I reconnected with my Big Why.

And I’m here to tell you that I’m more committed than ever to the work that I do, how I do it and who I work with.

Today, this very day right here, feels absolutely energizing.

You might think you can’t spare the time away from the pressing relentlessness of the tasks at hand and, besides, who’s got the time? There’s so much to do, so many places to be, so many demands on your attention.

But I’m here to tell you – if you don’t make time, you’ll never find time.

If you’re feeling out of step with your own life, as if you’re marching to the taxing beat of someone else’s drum, then do yourself a huge favor and find some time.

Drop back.


Get clear.

And prepare to re-enter your day-to-day life with a bona fide spring in your step.